Halloween is right next door.
I absolutely love Halloween. It’s the only day where you can actually be whatever you want to be and no one judges you for it. So put on drag, wear the skimpiest outfit, or be your childhood superhero no matter how embarrassing it may be. It’s all good on Halloween.
But even fun holidays like this can spark controversy and even an uproar. Even though we’re able to dress and be whatever we desire, should there be a limit or a line we dare not cross?
When it comes to dressing as characters, celebrities, and even citizens made famous or infamous overnight, we must observe and respect each other as members of a culture.
In American culture, Blackface is a tradition in the entertainment business. Back in the early 1900s and even before then, white entertainers would paint their faces black and exaggerate certain features Blacks typically have. They would talk as if they were illiterate, mispronouncing their words on purpose and creating this misrepresentation of Blacks to be seen as pure fun. Aspiring Black entertainers would have to participate in the tradition to be seen in the spot light as well.
Well known actors like Judy Garland even participated in Blackface. It was a highly offensive form of racism and it still is. Youtube can provide a lot of visuals if you’d like to explore this unspoken but still prevailent form of “entertainment.”
Yet what more perfect time to do Blackface than Halloween?
Before we proceed to go further into the matter, I want to give you my take on what I think is an offensive costume and what isn’t.
Youtuber, Macbarbie07 made a video on how to make a Nicki Minaj costume. She provided tips on what accessories and clothing to wear to resemble the rapstar.
She then proceeeded to use a bronzer to make her skin color look more like Nicki’s. This was not offensive. Not to me. She was clearly dressing the part.
Some may argue that we should be able to TELL if she’s Nicki or not? Maybe. If the person is able provide a convincing costume without bronzing their skin tone. But some people are overachievers. They like to take it there. And that’s no problem if you can provide a convincing costume. But we would probably assume by her light skin and similar hair style that she was Lady Gaga. Opinions will vary.
Also in the latest news, Julianne Hough dressed as a character off the hit show, “Orange is the New Black,” as the character “Crazy Eyes”. She wore brown complected make up, and wore a similar outfit and hair style to imitate the character.
I honestly, did not find that offensive. Black people dress as white characters all the time. The reason why we don’t change our skin tone is because it may be harder and it might not look as convincing because we have a stronger skin tone. But if you’re light skinned, it’s easier to manipulate. In the same breathe, it doesn’t mean we can’t try.
Moving on into a what is offensive, we find certain controversial and maybe even tragic events’ scars to either be funny to laugh at or hurtful to pick at.
A picture circulated the net of two guys, one dressed in actual Blackface as the slained innocent Trayvon Martin and the other with a “neighborhood watch” shirt pointing his fingers in the symbolic gun form as George Zimmerman.
The remaining embers of this controversial and tragic event hasn’t even died out yet and people have turned this into a Halloween costume.
Often when people do things highly offensive or racist we’re given a response that declares they’re oblivious and even offended we should be offended. No action will be given to the response “get over it.” Because it’s obvious the assault to one’s ethnicity and culture continues to persist.
It’s very obvious that there are traditions that shouldn’t even be traditions in American culture that still expresses a disdain and ridicule of Blacks and African/African Americans.
When you go to a store and buy black paint and paint your face with it, accessorizing it with stereotypical and symbolic items that either represent a horrible event blacks have experienced or is meant to be a caricuture of member based on their ethnic background, you ARE being offensive and you ARE being a racist.
An “African” themed party had made way to be controversial being that some of the attendees who were white, dressed in old fashioned Black face.
But I get it. It’s your tradition. It’s what you were raised to believe is ONLY entertainment, hysterically funny and means no harm to the people you make fun of. It’s only for laughs, to maybe even laugh at one’s pain and your inability to feel other’s pain. But WE should get over.
I understand that maybe you live in a world, where all that you do and say should be understood, empathized and pardoned though it can hurt others and remind them that racism still exists and is projected in many ways, including through your costume.
We should understand that racism is a thing of the past, that it doesn’t seep like a blood red stain through silk, ruining material that was once beautiful. It’s not a factor to your inability to understand that you are still a product of your own history. That what you deny and dare not speak about because it makes you feel uncomfortable or angry when confronted, is present through your actions, behaviors, thoughts and oh yes, your costume.
But I guess because it’s Halloween, that will be the excuse for your arrogance and not ignorance but premeditated attempt to be exactly what you don’t want to be stigmatized as: a racist.
This will be your reason to find black paint instead of a bronzer which is found at your nearest convenience store and participate in a good old fashioned American tradition. To place little captions like “We’re niggers” under your attempt to be something you in actuality hate to love. This will be your reason express how you probably really feel about Blacks and maybe even other minorities.
But it’s ok because it’s Halloween.